This week is National Sunshine Week, the annual observance of the importance of access to public information, promoting open government and pushing back against excessive secrecy.
It comes, says Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council president Bill Leuders, during a “year of almost constant threats to (Wisconsin’s) openness laws.” In fact just last week there was another example of a state legislator supporting a dubious claim of immunity from civil suits by obscuring when the legislature is in session in order to evade Open Records laws. Remember folks, these are your elected officials doing your business, and they want to keep you from having access to public information about that business.
The Wisconsin Council highlights a lot of good work being done with its annual Openness Awards called Opees. For the most part they demonstrate that citizens and many public officials do indeed care about open government. But there are egregious examples of abuse as well especially in the state legislature, proving Leuders’ point, and the need to support your right to know.